Insight to the lives of the Berber: breaking rules in an all-male market

Enroute to the Sahara, we found ourselves in a traditional Berber market in M’hamid. This was a special treat because the market occurs only every Wednesday and traditionally, women were not allowed. But seeing as we were hapless tourists, our guide decided that an exception was possible for us. Nevertheless, it must have been a strange sight to see two lost looking Asian girls wandering around the market. 

Berber Market Vegetables

Using thatched roofs as cover, there were stalls for anything and everything in the market. Ranging from fruits…

Berber markets clothes

To clothes...

Berber Market Aladdin Lamp

To magic lamps… The market had everything you could possibly want or need. Our guide joked that this was their equivalent of a supermarket or a megamall and it was where most of the people did their shopping. 

Berber market
Berber Market animals

They even sold live animals which was a little traumatic for me. Can you imagine lobbing the head off Mary’s little lamb (pictured above) with a butcher’s knife?!? 

Cous cous

I was so tempted to buy a kilogram of grain back to make some couscous. 

Berber Market spices

It was quite interesting to see how the spices they used in Morocco were also readily available in home, albeit not in mainstream supermarkets. Cue thankful reference to Singapore’s multiculturalism and “rojak”(a type of mixed salad) culture. 

Berber Market patron
Berber Market veggies

By the end of our little misadventure in the markets, the local shopkeepers were a more annoyed at my shutter snapping tendencies than their original bemusement. 

Regardless, it was still such an amazing opportunity to have a look into Moroccan local life. Even as a doubly-outside outsider (as a woman and foreign), the locals tended to be curious and kind, with some even offering free gifts of rock salt (! I wish I had taken a photo). Sigh, Morocco you beautiful place. 

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